Laptoppy’s hard disk has gone to join the majority. RIP.
Being without Laptoppy last weekend wasn’t as challenging as it could have been because I was actually quite busy with other things – a friend’s birthday and Saturday and family over on Sunday. Although it was definitely frustrating to not be able to easily do computer-related chores, I did have access to the excruciatingly-slow desktop whenever I needed to download or print anything. If I didn’t mind devoting half an hour to something that would take five minutes on the laptop!
I was a little surprised to realise just how much I’ve come to rely on it for entertainment and relaxing. I know I’m quite capable of spending a looong time on the computer, of course. However, whenever I needed to unwind (and I was still ill and tired over the weekend), I found myself first thinking of catch-up tv, blogs or downloading things to my iPod to watch/listen to and actually struggling to find alternatives. The good thing about this was the absence of temptation when I was studying – or before I even started studying.
I’m still really struggling with my focus on study (I don’t expect that to change this year) and one of the things I keep putting off is watching lectures, which I download from the uni website and watch either on my computer or on my TV via its iPod dock. I normally really appreciate being able to pause and rewind to give me a chance to write down notes or review things I didn’t catch (as well as being able to stop for drinks breaks). This week, I actually took a leaf from my own book of Weekend 10 and mixed up the way I study my lectures. Realising that my lack of focus meant that I simply wasn’t keeping up with my lectures the diligent, thorough way, I started merely listening to them on my iPod, with no note-taking and no forcing my tired eyes to watch the screen. This has been much more successful, even if it’s not quite as effective a way of learning.
My 15-minute organisational bursts were actually quite calming. Because I was so busy and ill, I ended up leaving these bursts until just before bed, so they generally consisted of no more than tidying away all the things I’d got out during the day. While my ultimate aim was to start feeling like every nook and cranny of my life was organised and minimalist (somehow I doubt I’ll ever be minimalist unless I somehow manage to completely spring-clean my own mind), it was actually a soothing routine for sleeping and to start the next day without all the debris of the previous day. I also realised that this 15-minute philosophy could be great for other things. For instance, I listenined to my lectures in palatable 15-minute blocks. Other chores that seem overwhelming could be broken down and a little done each day. Hobbies and things we want to learn could also be done in 15-minute bursts.
I remember in the film About A Boy (based on the Nick Hornby book, but I haven’t read that), the protagonist breaks his day up into 30-minute increments. The point in the film is to show that, even though he thinks it’s cool, he’s got so pathetically little in his life that has any real meaning that he has to break down the daunting endless hours of nothing much into shorter, purposeful, less-overwhleming blocks. Conversely, I sometimes find that there are so many tasks that I feel I should be doing that I get overwhelmed. If I could do them every day, but know I was only going to do them for 15 minutes, maybe my life would feel more manageable.